Whats the best age to see an Orthodontist for an initial visit?
Knowing when to see an orthodontist for the first time can be a bit confusing. Many believe that there is no reason to go before their child is a teenager, but in truth, it is recommended to go much earlier. In fact, a good time to see the orthodontist is often at around 7 years of age. This doesn’t mean that your child will get braces at this age, but it can give you an idea of what the next few years will bring.
Why 7 Years Old?
Although this may sound like it is much too early, by age 7, the average child will have lost a couple of baby teeth, but will not have many adult teeth. It is at this age that many will be growing in their first adult molars, aptly named “6-year molars.”
With a mix of adult and baby teeth, this is a good time for a family dentist before you visit the orthodontist to see how the adult teeth are coming in. Your child’s bite at this age can give an indication of potential future problems as the jaw develops. The earlier a problem is detected, the earlier a plan can be constructed for the best possible treatment.
What Happens During the First Visit to the Orthodontist?
Some parents may be concerned that a first visit will result in an immediate corrective procedure, such as braces. Your child may not need any treatment at all if no problems are detected. Even if you suspect that there is an issue with your child’s teeth, they may simply be experiencing a normal developmental variation. There is considerable disparity in development at this age, requiring an expert to determine if there is an actual orthodontic problem.
A growth and development scan can detect if there are any hidden issues. For example, 5% of the population is missing an adult tooth. This scan will give advanced notice to allow for the planning of appropriate treatment.
If any intervention is required, your child may receive mild treatment such as a retainer, spacers, or braces on the front of the teeth. This can help minimize the development of orthodontic problems, making later treatments easier, or even helping to avoid them altogether.
These early treatments aim to correct issues before they develop and may take about a year. Your child’s progress will be monitored to determine if braces or an alternative such as Invisalign will be required as they reach their teen years.
If no problems are detected, or if no treatment is required at present, there will typically be a re-evaluation within six to twelve months of the first visit, during which time your child’s progress will be evaluated to determine the action plan for the teen years.
It is important to detect orthodontic problems early on. By knowing when to see an orthodontist for the first time, you may be able to save your child from more serious issues in their teen years.
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